MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Winter Spring 2017 - page 91

words :: Christopher Elliott
illustration :: Dave Barnes
Dirtbag (noun): English portmanteau of “dirt” from the Old Norse “drit”
meaning “excrement;” and “bag” from the Ancient Greek “bastagma”
meaning “load” – lit. therefore: “load of excrement.”
Abag or sack with dirt in it.
An unkempt or slovenly person; an undesirable.
We spent the first year and a half of our lives in the Sea to Sky Corridor,
sleeping in the back of a rusty, red work van with the words “Ville de
Montréal” tacked on the side. We had driven the van fromQuébec across
the continental US (where gas was cheaper) and into Squamish for a life
outside—climbing, hiking and skiing.
On day three in town, after repairs to our ailing vehicle (necessary
because “Big Red” also doubled as our home), my girlfriend Eleanor
tallied up the finances and discovered we had eighty-three dollars
between us. We were poor, but happy, and Eleanor had lined up a cash
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